13:10 GMT23 September 2020
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    Most major roads and some public transit routes are on lockdown in Osaka, Japan as G20 leaders, their delegations, and thousands of journalists are in town for the bloc’s annual summit.

    The view from the 23rd floor of a high-rise building in central Osaka is stunning, but on this Friday morning the city looks unusually quiet. Most major roads are blocked with hundreds of police guarding G20 summit venues and hotels where official delegations and media crews are staying.

    While Osaka’s downtown looked almost completely deserted in the morning, unprecedented security measures were in place around the G20 venue, located on one of the islands in the Osaka harbour. Hundreds of police agents checked shuttle buses at least twice before they approached the convention centre.

    Local Osaka companies used the G20 to showcase their products and services to thousands of visitors at the summit’s media centre alongside big corporations. The exhibition is dedicated largely to what Japan is famous for – innovation, cutting edge technology and robotics.

    “As you might know, robotics programming is already compulsory in middle schools in Japan, and from next year, from 2020, programming will be compulsory in primary schools as well.” – says Alex Groms, sales section chief at the Osaka-based Artec company, which specialises in educational toys, Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics - "It's an incredible opportunity for us to present the most advanced educational materials here at the G20. It was the request of the organisers to allow us to participate in this particular fair."

    The Japanese also say that Osaka is particularly famous for its cuisine, whether it’s takoyaki, okonomiyaki, or other snacks. All these dishes were prepared for each visitor at the dining hall of the media. centre.

    The English-language Japan News website reported just a few days ago that the country’s food exports in 2019 are likely to meet the 1-trillion-yen annual target, which was set by Shinzo Abe’s government. And it’s possible, that with the global G20 coverage by the international media, the Japanese cuisine will gain even more popularity worldwide.

    C20 Osaka summit
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    C20 Osaka summit

    The 14th G20 summit is the first meeting of the bloc's leaders to be hosted by the Land of the Rising Sun. This year’s event revolves around issues such as the global economy, trade and investment, innovation, environment and energy, as well as women’s empowerment, employment and health – all subtopics of the sustainable development theme.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held a number of meetings in Osaka on the first day of the G20 summit, including talks with Donald Trump and sideline negotiations in Russia-India-China (RIC) and BRICS formats.

    The Group of 20 (G20) is the annual forum for the leaders and central bank heads of the 19 nations and the EU; it was founded in 1999 as a forum on financial stability, but its agenda has been expanded to include political topics ever since.

    G20, Osaka, Japan
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